One thing I consistently hear from teacher trainees as well as teachers is that remembering students’ names is a challenge. The more classes you teach each week, and the larger the classes are, the more difficult it can become.
I have struggled with this in the past too, but have found these six tips to make a huge difference.
1. Repeat their name back to them when they first say it to you.
“Nice to meet you Susan. I am so glad you are here for class today.” Saying it back right away will increase your odds of remembering it.
2. Make eye contact when they tell you their name, and remember a detail about their face.
This detail might help you with memory recall. Something like, “Max has green eyes.” Then, the next time you see Max, you might not remember his name at first, but the detail about him can help you pull it up in your mind.
3. Connect their name with a physical issue or goal they have.
This is my personal favorite because it helps not only with remembering their name but with following up on their progress with their practice, i.e. “Kate has knee problems.”
Then, when Kate comes back to class, I can recall her name and let her know I am interested in her motivation for practicing. “Hi Kate, how is your knee doing? What improvements are you noticing with your yoga practice?”
Notice how, by recalling what was going on with her the last time she was in class, I made the assumption that she is improving and showed her that I care about her wellness.
4. Stand at the front desk during class sign-in, or by the door to the classroom, and personally greet each student.
Seeing them come in helps you in many ways. You can note what their energy is like as they come into the studio, you can see movement patterns in their body, and you can catch their name if they are new or you don’t remember it off hand.
5. Go to each person before the start of class and check in with them.
This is something that has worked for me over the years. I stop by their mat and see how they are doing, if they have any injuries, and re-introduce myself if I don’t remember their name. This gives me a chance to personally connect with each person in the room.
6. Repetition, repetition, repetition.
Have the students do introductions and tell you their names every class. The more you hear it, the better you will remember, and if this is something you have the time to do, it helps students to get to know one another as well.
Do you have a hard time remembering names? Try some of these tricks the next time you are in a situation where you need to learn people’s names. One or two of these yoga teacher tips should help you become proficient in quickly picking up and remembering the names of the people you meet.